Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Table Topics: Fall Favorites

It's Fall y'all!  Ok, that phrase is not one of my favorites, but this Table Topic theme is all about favorites...and not so favorites.

Tis the season in Louisville where you need to keep summer and fall clothes options readily available at all times.  Last week we had two days of 50 degree weather, and then back up to the glorious 70s.  But it is October and time to think about that short season of autumn that happens before we hit the cold, hard winter months.

I have to start with something that isn't my Fall favorite...Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  Let the lashing begin.  I adore Starbucks and I adore pumpkin, but put the two together and I'm not impressed.  I've had one Pumpkin Spice Latte and it was less than enjoyable, which isn't my normal Starbucks experience.  Now, I'm happy to eat a pumpkin muffin from Starbucks whilst sipping my White Mocha, but spare me the pumpkin-flavored coffee.

A Fall favorite is s'mores!  Now s'mores can be made all year long, even during the summer camping seasons, but s'mores around a Fall bonfire are just yummy.  I'll share my s'mores indoors recipes.  First, hover a marshmallow over a fireplace and you got the makings of yummy goodness.  Or, if you are desperate, over a candle. That takes much longer and may end up tasting like vanilla bean.  The easiest recipe is to put your s'more together and then zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Voila!  S'more!

Another favorite is the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin fragrance from Bath & Body Works.  This is by far my favorite smell and I try and stock up for those months when they don't have it in stock, even online.  There is something about this scent that makes me feel like wearing sweaters, curling up with a good book, or munching on popcorn while watching a movie in my snuggie.  I stumbled upon this fragrance years ago and I'm SO thankful they haven't discontinued it.  My sales alone I hope will keep it popular.

So, now it's your turn...

What are your Fall Favorites?

I'll "leaf" the discussion in your hands...

Monday, October 05, 2015

Reflections on Oregon

Last week, Chris Harper-Mercer, opened gunfire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.  Nine victims lost their lives and it was ruled by investigators that Chris, the shooter, committed suicide after shots back and forth with police.  My heart breaks when I hear of these shootings, but sadly, I feel the more I hear, the more numbness sets in as to the gravity of what happened.

Whenever a mass shooting like this occurs, the cry for gun control rings loudest.  I agree that we need to control the accessibility to guns, but the issue goes so much deeper than that.  What if Chris decided to build a bomb and blow up the college, with most likely even more lives lost.  How do we instill "bomb control?"  

I grieve for those that have lost loved ones, a pain that is difficult to reconcile.  But, I also grieve for Chris' parents.  His father was interviewed by CNN and he stated that his son lived with his Mom in Oregon and he hadn't seen him in two years since they moved.  The very next statement in the CNN article said that they had a good father/son relationship.  Whoa, what?!  You haven't seen your son in two years, yet you have a good father/son relationship?  My heart grieves for the destruction of the family unit.  We will never know what the split of Chris' mother and father did to him, but even deeper, we will never know how that impacted Chris' mental and emotional state.  God help our families to turn to You, make You the center and not take the marriage covenant so lightly.  

It was reported that Chris asked each person if they were a Christian and those that weren't were shot, but not in the head.  If you answered affirmatively, Chris shot you in the head.  Reports said he even referenced them seeing God quickly.  What a powerful testimony these victims have.  Would I be that strong?  I surely hope so.  I don't know what sickens me most - the act of the killing of innocent people, or the pure mockery of Christianity.  Lord help us.

When the news broke and my social media feeds filled with speculation and cries for gun control, the first thing I thought of was the true problem here.  Sin.  Chris was struggling with an unbelief in the One who created him, possibly due to a manifested feeling of being the cause of his parents' divorce.  The next thing I thought of was how little we value life.  The continual saga of the Planned Parenthood videos and their destruction of babies in the womb reveal our world's inability to value life in the womb.  If we don't value life in the womb, why do you think we'd value it outside of the womb...those lives attending a community college?  

I heard a report today that a woman who was shot said to Chris, "I'm sorry you've had the life you've had" and he shot her.  This tells me he expressed his feelings on his life very openly to these people.  And his outpouring of this emotion came through the killing of innocent people.  

The problem isn't gun control.  The problem is this world needs a Savior.  Even so, Lord Jesus come quickly.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Time Marches On

One of the lines from my favorite movie, Steel Magnolias, is uttered by Truvy, the character played by Dolly Parton, "Time marches on, and sometimes you realize it's marching across your face."  

Time does march on, and with the march come change.  I'm normally very open to change and the refreshment it brings, but of late, there has been some changes that haven't been all that encouraging.  Recently, they came in threes (keeping with my recent Birthday Trifecta post).  

A few weeks ago, Kingfish closed their location on Blankenbaker near my home.  Kingfish is a local seafood place in Louisville that used to have a location on 4th Street near the river.  The Belvedere happened and Kingish closed and a new location opened across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  There was still a few locations around town, and one still on the Ohio River on the Kentucky side on River Road.  That one still remains.  Kingfish on River Road was one of my family's favorite locations to eat.  My Mom loved the seafood, as did my Dad and we'd frequent that location a lot.  After my Mom passed away, we moved on the East side of town.  Even when my Dad remarried, they eventually moved near me.  Dad found the Kingfish on Blankenbaker his new favorite.  I met my Dad and Stepmom there many times for dinner or lunch.  And we frequented there to celebrate birthdays and holidays.  When news released of its closing, I felt like I lost a little bit more of my Dad.

This past weekend I received a flyer in the mail from the Ben Franklin Store in Middletown.  I got very excited expecting this to be a sales flyer as we are entering the holiday season.  Unfortunately, it was a letter stating that after 32 years of business, the family was closing the store.  I was devastated.  Ben Franklin is where I always bought my crochet yarn, and lots of other craft goodies.  It's close to home and they also carried lots of great Christmas decorations for reasonable prices.  But more than that, this was one of the places I would frequent with my Mom.  My love of crafts comes from her.  She was always working on a project.  A day out with my Mom would be either going to the movies and trying a new restaurant, or going to a craft store and spending the day shopping and then trying a new restaurant.  In fact, since my Mom passed 15 years ago, I sometimes just wander around a craft store when I'm missing her.  And this is big, folks, because I loathe shopping, but a craft store or bookstore is where I could spend hours. With the news of Ben Franklin closing, I felt like I lost another part of Mom.  She's been gone 15 years this year and memories fade, so losing this tangible place seemed sad. 

Then, the icing on the cake.  There is a Wendy's on Blankenbaker (technically Kentucky Mills Drive, but close enough) that I frequent in the mornings on the way to work.  Their Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal is to die for!  And, they are the only restaurant I pass on the way to work where I can get a fountain Coke Zero. (Thornton's doesn't count)  I also like to swing through there to get a Tropical Green Tea when I'm feeling the need for a healthier option for a beverage.  Earlier this week I did just that and as I got my Green Tea, I noticed the sign that said, "As of October 1, this location will no longer be serving breakfast.  Please be sure to visit our Middletown location for your breakfast need."  Really!?!  I decided since I didn't pay homage on the final days of Kingfish and Ben Franklin that I would for Wendy's breakfast.  Yesterday I went to Wendy's to get their amazing oatmeal and my Coke Zero and almost shed a tear as I drove out of the parking lot.  

They say as you get older, change is more difficult.  I really want to fight against that because I do get rather energized by change.  But, when it impacts good memories (sans Wendy's), I prefer those be around until Jesus comes.